What high-quality flatbed scanner should I buy?
August 12, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I currently have an Epson Perfection V30. I'm not too happy about the scan quality. What's a good upgrade? Scan quality is priority #1, low price is priority #2 (the range of $100-$200 is ideal). Don't care about the software (I use VueScan).
posted by danburzo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Personally I have never used anything made by Epson that didn't suck ass in one way or another. If the hardware was OK the software sucked, and vice versa.

I have had good luck with Canon. Their imaging devices work well and haven't given me any real trouble, on any platform I've used them (Windows and Mac).

Bonus on the Mac - my most recent flatbed scanner (Canoscan 5600F) didn't even require any drivers. Sure, I could have installed the Canon software, but I didn't need to. It was $100 a year or so ago, has likely gotten cheaper since then.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:30 PM on August 12, 2011

I love my (old) Canon LiDE200. I got it on sale from Newegg almost 2 years ago, and it has been fantastic. The one issue is that it developed a weird light line in the middle of the scan, but that was after it was carried around under perhaps not the best situation. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

That model has since been replaced by Canon CanoScan LiDE210, which retails around $90 USD. It doesn't do film scanning, if you're thinking about that.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2011

As for set-up, the 200 only needs the USB cable, no extra power cord. I forgot what the software setup was like, but I tweaked everything in Photoshop after scanning.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on August 12, 2011

What do you scan?
posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:09 PM on August 12, 2011

Response by poster: Film scanning would be a great bonus, but primarily I scan photographs, documents and design/artwork. The Epson V30 has dull colors and blown highlights.
posted by danburzo at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2011

I have a Canon LiDE as well. I think it's a 60 or 90.. I can't recall. I'm pretty happy with it. It's all USB powered which is fantastic. It works on the Mac & PC. Quality is pretty good though I'm not picky. My only complaint is the lid doesn't come off, which would be handy for some weirder book scans.
posted by chairface at 3:59 PM on August 12, 2011

Not a direct answer to your question, but have you tried adjusting the settings in your scanning softwarfe to improve your scans? I'm very happy with my ancient Epson 3590, but I do the following adjustments to every scan (using Epson's own scanning plugin, in "Professional" mode, via Photoshop on Windows):

Click the Histogram button.
Drag the white limit handle (the rightmost white triangle under the histogram graph) to the right until the white blowouts are gone.
Drag the black limit handle (leftmost black triangle) *slightly* to the right for deeper blacks at the cost of losing shadow detail.
Drag the gray handle slightly to the right to get much richer colors at the cost of darkening the image overall.

You can probably do something similar in any scanning software unless it's set to "easy" or "fully automatic" mode.

To see examples of stuff I've scanned, see my flickr account linked from my mefi profile.
posted by moonmilk at 7:13 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oops, forgot a detail: do the histogram adjustments AFTER you do a preview scan, so you can get a visual preview of the effects of the adjustments. You may have to redo the histogram adjustments if you do another preview scan.
posted by moonmilk at 7:15 PM on August 12, 2011

Another vote for the Canon LIDE scanners. I have used a 670U for more than ten years and I love it. It cost me around $150-200 back in the day. Last time I checked, a comparable replacement was around $80.
posted by CCBC at 10:22 PM on August 12, 2011

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